Thursday 30 September 2010

Power of the press

I like relaxing with a newspaper over breakfast. As groovy as the iPad is, I don't see myself sitting down to a latte and some bacon and eggs anytime soon with an iPad. I like my table to be covered by half an acre of newsprint.

If I am having a leisurely breakfast, I'll knock off all four major papers - The Aus, the Fin Review, the SMH and the Telegraph. My favourite is The Aus; partly for it's political slant, but mainly because it is the only paper with enough content to last me through a proper cooked breakfast. I can knock off the Fin Review, SMH and Telegraph in the time it takes me to wade through the first section of The Aus.

Somewhere in The Aus today was a whinge from some lefty crackpot about the power of that particular paper, and how it was being misused to attack the Greens. Don't ask me to find that story for you - I've been to the pub, and the keyboard is swimming before my eyes. Googoogoogling is a bit beyond me at present.

The gist of the argument seemed to be that The Aus is powerful because it sells a lot of copies, therefore lots of people read it, therefore the opinions contained therein can have a major impact on the deluded masses.

If you ask me, they got it completely arse about. People read papers because they are attuned to the content. You won't find me reading Green Left Weekly an awful lot, because the articles and editorial slant shit me to tears. I'd rather have holes drilled in my toenails than read that paper every week.

The Aus is more powerful than Green Left Weekly because more people subscribe to the political slant of The Aus than to Green Left Wankly. It is more powerful because more people have the values and beliefs of The Aus than the Green Left Workshy. Papers are not so much opinion shapers as echo chambers. If the editor pushes opinions that annoy the readership, the paper will fail.

The whinger just didn't get that. The Aus is powerful because it echoes a large group of people. Green Left Weekly is a powerless rag because it echoes the beliefs and values of a very small group of people.

I thought that would be pretty fucking obvious to most people. I guess not.


Lee - mid north coast NSW said...

Good one BOAB - Logic 101!

1735099 said...

I've been reading the Oz (the Fart of the Nation) since the seventies. I don't read it because I agree with its editorial slant (which is pretty obvious) but like you, because it's a good read. Back when I first started reading it, it had a reputation for leaning left. Times have changed.